The owners of the Royal Arcade in Keighley are wondering what to do with an entire Victorian street that's been discovered buried below their shopping centre.
The street dates back to the 1890s but they don't know if the units were just used for storage for the shops above or retail outlets in their own right. They're now considering whether to turn it in to a wine bar, develop it in to arts and crafts shops or preserve it exactly as it is.
The man hoping to development an underground Victorian shopping arcade in Keighley says there are many planning restrictions - and anything built will fit in with its Victorian pa
"We’d be very restricted for what we could do.
"It’s mainly on safety and fire assessment grounds. If we can get these things sorted then we definitely will develop it.
"It’s something we would really like to do. We’ve looked at opening it up with craft shops. It will be a working environment - shops that would fit in with what it used to be. We’ll utilise what’s in there."
– Nick Holroyd, manager of the Royal Arcade in Keighley
Other ideas being considered include creating a visitor attraction or converting the old shops for use by craftsmen and specialist traders.
When builders discovered an underground shopping arcade in Keighley, much of the Victorian building work on the cellars of seven shops was still intact, while wooden shop-fronts and stable pens were in place.
Constructors also found doors, signs and fittings from some of the original shops in the street, which was then owned by Frank Booth and Mark Holroyd.
Now Nick Holroyd, manager of the Royal Arcade, which is above the discovery, is investigating whether the street - once at ground level - can be restored.
He has enlisted an architect and structural engineer - and plans are being made to develop the street, which has space for up to eight units.